People going ape over N.C. Zoo

Posted July 8, 2010 10:56 a.m. EDT

— Attendance at the North Carolina Zoo during the year that ended June 30 was the highest in 13 years and was the fourth highest in the zoo's history, officials said Thursday.

The zoo's 749,627 visitors during the 2009-10 fiscal year were 20,000 more than the previous year and were the highest since 782,000 people visited the zoo in 1997-98. The zoo's record attendance was more than 934,000 in 1994-95, when the zoo opened its 200-acre North America exhibit.

Zoo officials said the opening of two major exhibits over the past year, the “Acacia Station” giraffe feeding platform and the Lemur Island exhibit, helped boost attendance.

Zoo Director David Jones also credited an increased target marketing effort that included the integration of social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Generally good weather during the year and the zoo’s value for families still concerned about the wavering economy were also factors in the attendance growth, he said.